Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena »

Billie Holiday’s Saddest Song

Posted July 13, 2014 by | 2 Comments

The other night I heard an instrumental version of “You’ve Changed”, which is unusual; you don’t hear very many versions of this most sad of songs, either vocal or instrumental. The most famous version is Billie Holiday‘s version from her swan song album, Lady in Satin.

She was dying in the hospital when that record was released in 1958. She has the sad distinction of …

Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Featured, Music History, New Releases »

Reissued: The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal

Posted June 30, 2014 by | 0 Comments

The German audiophile label Speakers Corner had just reissued, on LP–in glorious mono too–a classic album, The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal. This LP was originally issued by Epic Records in 1959.  There may have been a stereo version, but the original master tape is lost–or worse, it may have been reprocessed for stereo which is the kiss of death for any recording. On the …

Featured, Headline, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #56: Brazilian Futebol & Music

Posted June 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments

I bought a caxirola the other day. This is the official noisemaker for the 2014 World Cup games hosted in Brazil. Alas, they’ve already been banned from the games because supposedly they can be hurled like missiles and could hurt somebody. Nonetheless, it’s time for World Cup! This week’s show celebrates Brazilian Futebol and its music.
I’ve been to Brazil numerous times. Once I went up to …

Featured, Music History »

What’s Lollywood and Nollywood?

Posted June 11, 2014 by | 0 Comments

First there was Hollywood. In the 1940s came Bollywood, the prolific Bombay film industry. But what about their lesser-known cousins Nollywood and Lollywood?
“Nollywood” refers to the Nigerian film industry. Like Bollywood, Nigeria pumps out several films, much more than Hollywood but just shy of Bombay’s huge output. It has exploded in the last decade, generating $286 million into the Nigerian economy. According to the …

Artist Spotlight, Literature, Music Evolution, Music History, New Releases »

Verve: The Sound of America

Posted June 4, 2014 by | 2 Comments

I thought I knew Norman Granz and his successive record labels Clef, Norgran, Verve, and Pablo pretty well. I’ve had records on these labels in my collection for years. Granz founded Verve Records in 1956, a time of change not only in music but in domestic politics and race relations as well.
Like Francis Wolf and Alfred Lion (Blue Note’s founders from Germany), Phil and …

Featured, Music History »

The 3 F’s of Portugal: Fado, Futbol, Fatima

Posted June 2, 2014 by | 2 Comments

I was recently on a plane en route from Praia, Cape Verde to Lisbon and was sitting next to a Cape Verdean who’ve I’ve known for many years. He was the tour manager of the late Cesaria Evora, who visited KCRW many times. He told me that “Fado, Futbol, and Fatima are the 3 F’s of Portugal”. We know about the first F, “Fado”–that …

Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena, Rediscoveries »

Lindy Hop is Back

Posted May 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments
herrang dance camp

First it was the introverted Finns coming out of their shells and dancing close to the Tango. Then, the shy Japanese getting into latin music and swing. Now it’s the Swedes getting into the Lindy Hop.
Lindy Hop was a gymnastic, highly physical dance form from the Depression era, where it was popular in ballrooms and clubs of Harlem, particularly the Savoy Ballroom. There dancers …

Featured, Music History, Performances & Events »

Indian Music: Dhrupad

Posted May 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments

This Friday (5/23/14) at Occidental College’s Herrick Chapel, LA’s Music Circle hosted their final concert of their 2013-2014 season with the Gundecha Brothers. The Music Circle was founded in 1966 by Ravi Shankar and the late Harihar Rao. They present world class concerts of Indian classical music. The Gundecha Brothers (Umakant and Ramakant) are among the most celebrated of dhrupad vocalists today, recognized for their vocal range and praised …

Featured, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections »

Russian Rock: Then and Now

Posted May 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments

I was Music Director of KCRW and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic during the 1980s and we did regular programs featuring the latest in Soviet-era Russian pop and rock music. Back then, the Cold War was alive and well, with Reagan and Brezhnev regularly rattling their swords. Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny once told me that as a kid in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, he played near …

Cape Verde, Featured, Headline, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #49: Music of Cape Verde (The Classics)

Posted April 25, 2014 by | 1 Comment

I just spent 9 days in Praia, capital of Santiago, the biggest island in the Cape Verde chain. I went there to visit the Atlantic Music Expo and the Kriol Jazz Festival, and was invited because I’ve championed Cesaria Evora’s music for 20+ years. It was a delight and an honor.
This show focuses on 4 different musical styles as well as the music of …

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